Fugitive Lois Riess arrested in Texas
Lois Riess of Blooming Prairie, Minn. was was arrested in South Padre Island, Tex. on Thursday.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KMSP) - Lois Riess, the fugitive dubbed "Losing Streak Lois" by local authorities for her gambling addiction, was arrested Thursday evening by U.S. Marshals in South Padre Island, Texas. Her apprehension ends a 10-day, nationwide manhunt.
She is believed to have killed her husband last month and stole $11,000 from one of his bank accounts. Authorities have also connected her to the murder of Pamela Hutchinson, 59, in Fort Myers last week, saying Riess was seen on surveillance video driving her car shortly thereafter.
Authorities received a tip from a citizen who recognized Riess in South Padre Island from all the news coverage. The U.S. Marshals and local police located Riess at a nearby bar and arrested her without incident. She was still driving Hutchinson's vehicle at the time.
Speaking at a press conference Friday, Lee County, Fla. Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said Riess was "not surprised whatsoever" that law enforcement had found her.
"She knew it was coming," Marceno said.
Authorities have not determined whether Riess will be sent to Minnesota or Florida first.
"I promised all along that Lois Riess would end up in a pair of handcuffs," Marceno in a statement released after Riess' arrest. "Tonight, she sits in a jail cell in Texas. We are working as expeditiously as possible to bring her back to Lee County to face murder charges."
MARCH 23: MINNESOTA MURDER
Authorities first began looking for Riess after her husband, 54-year-old Navy veteran David Riess, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in rural Dodge County on March 23.
A warrant was issued for Riess’ arrest after local law enforcement discovered she had illegally withdrawn $11,000 from her husband’s personal bank accounts. She was reportedly facing $100,500 in debt at the time of the murder.
The day her husband's body was found, investigators say Riess drove to a bank in Glenville and cashed over $10,000 in stolen and forged checks from his bank account. She then spent most of the day gambling at Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa.
Surveillance video released Thursday shows Riess stopping at a gas station in Iowa after the casino to buy a sandwich and ask for directions south out of the state.
APRIL 5: RIESS MEETS FUTURE MURDER VICTIM
The Lee County Sheriff's Office in Florida says Riess drove her Cadillac Escalade from Minnesota to Fort Myers Beach and abandoned it at a park.
Video footage from the Smokin' Oyster Brewery in Fort Myers Beach, Florida on April 5 shows Riess befriending 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson of Bradenton, Florida. Hutchinson was found dead in her Fort Myers Beach condo a few days later.
APRIL 9: FLORIDA MURDER
Hutchinson was found shot to death in her condo on April 9, but she was likely killed a few days prior. Authorities believe Riess targeted Hutchinson because of their similar appearance and killed her to assume her identity. Hutchinson’s ID, credit cards and vehicle were missing from her home.
Riess was seen in a surveillance video leaving Marina Village, where the condo was located, in Hutchinson's white Acura TL with Florida license plate Y37TAA.
Before leaving Fort Myers Beach, Riess stopped at a Wells Fargo Bank and used Hutchinson's ID to make an over the counter cash withdrawal of $5,000, according to the sheriff's office.
A warrant was for Riess' arrest in connection with the case.
RIESS LEAVES FLORIDA
Riess arrived at the Hilton hotel in Ocala, Florida on April 6, one day after she was seen on video talking with Hutchinson at the brewery in Fort Myers.
Three surveillance videos from a hotel in Ocala, Florida also show the Acura driving in the parking lot as well as Riess walking around inside the hotel and walking up to the hotel counter. She used Hutchinson's credit card to pay for a room.
Riess left Ocala on April 7. The Acura was later spotted in Louisiana and then resurfaced in Corpus Christi, Texas.
ARREST IN TEXAS
On Thursday, authorities received a tip from a citizen in South Padre Island, Texas who recognized Riess from the news coverage. U.S. Marshals and local police located the stolen Acura TL and found Riess sitting in a nearby bar. She was arrested without incident at 8:25 p.m.
Riess is charged with grand theft in Minnesota and second-degree murder, grand theft, ID theft and grand theft auto in Florida.
The Dodge County Attorney's Office has not charged Riess with her husband's murder.
South Padre Island police executed a search warrant of Riess’ motel room Friday night. They discovered two pistols, one .22 caliber and one 9-mm.
ARRAIGNED IN TEXAS
Riess was arraigned by South Padre Island Municipal Court Saturday morning.
She is being held without bond and will be transferred to Florida for further investigation upon completion of her extradition hearing, South Padre Island authorities said in a press release.